You do a lot with your hands. Wash them, sanitize them, clean with them, and maybe even garden or cook with them. Any one of these tasks alone can take a toll on how the skin on your hands looks and feels. Combine this with the cold, moisture-sucking air of winter and you’re more than likely left with cracked knuckles, unsightly cuticles, and overall dry, rough skin. We know you remain dedicated to switching up your skin-care routine for your face according to the season, but truth be told, it’s time for your hands to get some love, too.
“Cold air and wind constrict blood vessels and can result in decreased moisture to the surface of the skin,” explains Tennessee-based dermatologist Purvisha Patel, MD. This can result in microcracks on the surface of the skin, Dr. Patel says, which can be just plain uncomfortable (at best) or can lead to infection (at worst). Plus, you’re more likely to take hot showers and crank the heater up during the wintertime — Dr. Patel says these factors can also result in drier skin that’s prone to cracking or inflammation.
Thankfully, it’s easy to start incorporating hand creams into your routine — just throw one in your purse, car, and gym bag as a constant reminder to lather up. While hand creams are a dime a dozen, the right one should be packed with ingredients that benefit your skin. Dr. Patel recommends looking out for ingredients like rosehip oil to reduce redness and inflammation, shea butter to promote collagen synthesis and repair the skin, and sunflower seed oil to support the skin’s moisture barrier, says Dr. Patel.
If you’re loyal to Target (aren’t we all?), here are the best hand creams you’ll find there — your hands will thank you.
Lanolips Rose Intense Hand Cream
Looking for a hand cream that doubles as a cuticle treatment? The Rose Intense Hand Cream from Lanolips is the answer, offering up the skin-softening benefits of lanolin to hydrate more than just parched hands. Beyond the grease-free formula, we’re fans of the compact packaging — it’s travel-friendly (perfect for combating the inevitable dryness you experience in-flight), but also tucks away nicely into your nightstand to accompany your bedtime routine.
Eczema Honey Oatmeal Hand Cream
This just in: your favorite breakfast food now comes in the form of hand cream. Well, sort of. Oatmeal is the star of the show in this hand cream from Eczema Honey — it helps fight off cracked knuckles and dry skin while cocoa and shea butters work together to smooth out any roughness. The Allure Best of Beauty winner is also made without any parabens, phthalates, or fragrance, making it a non-irritating option for those with eczema-prone or sensitive skin.
EOS Shea Better Hand Cream
EOS is a brand near and dear to our lips, and now, its Shea Butter Hand Cream has also earned a spot in our routines. The formula, which highlights the softening properties of shea butter, keeps hands moisturized for a full day — perfect for those long car rides to the family Christmas party or for chilly weekends spent camping. This comes in several scents, but in our opinion, Vanilla Cashmere is perfect for getting into the cozy winter spirit.
Tenoverten The Heroine Hand Cream
Tenoverten’s The Heroine Hand Cream is a recipe for success, even if your hands run the gamut of issues. It features hyaluronic acid to nix dryness, a marine-derived retinol alternative to smooth out lines, and antioxidant-rich kakadu plum to lighten up dark spots. Another thing we adore? The fact that the packaging is not an eyesore.
Curél Extreme Dry Hand Hand Relief
If you wash your hands a lot, Curél’s Extreme Dry Hand Hand Relief Cream will be the perfect option to keep alongside your hand soap, as it’s formulated to last through multiple hand washes without you having to reapply throughout the day. Aside from this, one application is all you need to experience the spa-like scent of the eucalyptus extract in the formula, which may come in handy amidst all the chaotic holiday shopping you’ll be doing.
CeraVe Therapeutic Hand Cream
CeraVe is a dermatologist-praised brand for a reason, and the Therapeutic Hand Cream doesn’t disappoint. This buttery-rich formula solves all winter skin woes including chapping, cracking, and chafing. It’s also formulated with hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacinamide to keep skin plump, hydrated, and inflammation-free. One reviewer, BerryHonest, also praised how quick-absorbing the formula is, adding that it doesn’t leave any grease behind.
Eucerin Advanced Repair Hand Cream
So, you’re a serial hand sanitizer user, but it’s starting to really take a toll on your skin. Enter the Eucerin Advanced Repair Hand Cream, your non-slippery solution for softer hands. You won’t find any fancy scents in this formula (it’s fragrance-free), but you will find things like urea, sunflower seed oil, glycerin, and ceramides to keep skin on its A-game. “This is the only hand lotion that works to stop my hands from cracking. I can’t live without this,” says reviewer MaryK.
Soap & Glory Hand Food Intensive Hand Balm
Soap & Glory’s Hand Food Intensive Hand Balm is just that: food for your hands. It nourishes with avocado oil, marula oil, and allantoin, a popular K-beauty ingredient revered for battling itchy, scaly skin. We’re impressed with how well the lightly-whipped texture deeply hydrates yet still manages to be lightweight in feel. The fruity-floral scent doesn’t hurt either.
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream
Made of 40 percent glycerin to repair damaged hands, the crowd-favorite Norwegian Formula Hand Cream from Neutrogena isn’t here to mess around. For reviewer Trishy12, it’s been a favorite for years, making hands feel soft and moisturized all while lasting through several washes. This formula also has the seal of approval from the National Eczema Association, which makes it nice to keep on hand if and when flare-ups arise.
Burt’s Bees Honey and Grapeseed Oil Hand Cream
Don’t mistake Burt’s Bees Honey and Grapeseed Oil Hand Cream as only being good for your hands — the emollient-rich formula can also be used to salvage rough patches on your elbows, knees, and heels. The beautiful blend of grapeseed oil and honey packs a one-two punch of moisture — plus, the combo makes for a sweet, inviting scent that screams winter.
O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream
Your moisture barrier is what keeps your skin healthy and hydrated, but it can become damaged over time due to things like overwashing, eczema, and sun exposure. Cue O’Keeffe’s Working Hands Hand Cream, a slightly waxy formula that instantly soothes blisters, calluses, and cracks and also ensures that the skin barrier stays strong and healthy. Keep a tub of this on deck if your hands are really overworked.
Love Beauty and Planet Hand Cream
If you want your hand cream to be moisturizing but not sticky, Love Beauty and Planet’s Hand Cream fits the bill. The formula comes out thick but it instantly absorbs without leaving any trace of oiliness behind. We’re partial to the Happy Summer Vibes scent, which uses brightening vitamin C and citrusy mandarin to remind us of summer during cold, dreary winter days.